Five Key Takeaways from the 2018 Growth PR Conference



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Marketing and Communications are converging as PR has evolved radically over the last decade. Data science and digital media are transforming the way companies tell stories and how they measure success.

To help forward-looking PR and marketing professionals navigate all of this change, AirPR, the data science and technology company that invented PR Attribution™ and Power of Voice™, hosted the 2018 Growth PR Conference. Industry leaders shared insights, tactics and practical tips to transition from traditional PR to growth PR.

Here are five key takeaways from the conference to kick off your 2019 communications and marketing strategy:

1. Tie back communications and marketing efforts to business results. In his keynote, “Performance Storytelling,” Norton Lifelock CMO Ty Shay explains: “The modern CMO needs to evolve the marketing function from a cost center to a profit center, thereby showing the direct correlation of marketing to business results, including growth and profit. Performance Storytelling integrates both analytics and creativity. It forms accountability by demanding that the creative team deliver business results.”

Ty Shay, CMO of Lifelock, opening up the 2018 Growth PR Conference

2. Create an omnichannel communications strategy. In his welcome session “The Story is in the Data” AirPR CEO Dan Beltramo highlighted how, compared to traditional PR, the new era of Growth PR looks across Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned media to create authority and engagement. He highlighted the steps for a converged communications and marketing growth strategy: first, creating the right message, then controlling the story, followed by omnichannel promotion and analyzing business outcomes. 3. Use PR Attribution™ to develop your content strategy. In the panel “Credit Where Credit’s Due: Proving ROI through PR Attribution” Madison Hodges, head of brand marketing for Metromile, described how she used data and insights to increase their read rate for their content by 25% in just six months. “For the first time we have been able to attribute quotes and sales back to channels that were previously thought to be defunct – PR, and Content – as well as establish benchmarks for PR and Content performance in the past that we can build upon. By creating my own readership rate metric with AirPR data, I have been able to prove that owned content is a vital part of the customer journey, and ultimately, I was able to get more resources for our content team and buy-in from the C-Suite for our content strategy.”

Tim Rathschmidt of Airbnb and Madison Hodges of Metromile discussing PR Attribution™ at the 2018 Growth PR Conference. 

4. Stay focused on your positioning and branding. Acclaimed author and brand strategist Andy Cunningham shared what to ask yourself in her session, “Get to Aha!”: “Things have, as we know, changed dramatically in PR. To be successful in the the world of Growth PR is to identify the intersection of positioning and content marketing. There are two super important questions that you need to answer to succeed in business: Who are you and why do you matter? That’s the root of positioning and the goal that we’re all trying to achieve.” 

Andy Cunningham speaking at the 2018 Growth PR Conference.

5. Use Power of Voice to understand impact. AirPR has created the Power of Voice metric to measure the quality, not the quantity, of coverage to drive business outcomes. Mark Delcorps, senior director of PR for Overstock, highlighted how he uses this powerful metric: “We look at Share of Voice and Power of Voice side-by-side. Share of Voice helps you get volumes, but when you really look at Power of Voice, it tells you essentially if the right message is getting to the right people. We can examine what messages hit and which messages didn’t. It allows us to work smarter and more efficiently.” 

Kelsey Audagnotti of Experian, Robyn Hannah of Dynamic Signal, Mark Delcorps of Overstock, and Kelly Byrd of AirPR discussing Power of Voice™ at the 2018 Growth PR Conference.

Thanks to the latest technologies, PR is now a data-driven powerhouse that maps to real business results, earning a seat at the table alongside Marketing. Instead of publishing repetitive press releases and campaigns built on gut-instinct, the Growth PR era is fueled by data-driven, iterative storytelling. Each tactic is measured by metrics that tie back to provide revenue indicators and accelerate funnel activities that impact the bottom line. The more Growth PR matures, the more we see real-life, practical ways that industry leading PR and marketing professionals are using data and insights in their every day work.